Hello! While I’ve been out harvesting vegetables in the garden lately, I’ve been writing blog posts in my head. Ha! Anyone else do that? There are so many things I’ve been wanting to share with you- what’s been happening in the garden, how we’ve been preserving everything, all about our quail raising adventures, and lots more. One thing we’ve been doing a lot of around here is fermenting vegetables.
For those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile, you likely already know our love for fermented foods. We always have something fermenting in our kitchen. Sometimes it looks like our kitchen is covered in science experiments- fermenting vegetables all over the place, kefir on the counter, sourdough bubbling (I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free sourdough baking), tempeh growing, natto in the incubator, and a jar of kombucha on the table.
Our family loves fermented foods, and we also feel better when we make them a regular part of our diet. We like to have at least one ferment as a condiment with each meal. (Yes, even breakfast.) The addition of raw, probiotic foods loaded with enzymes, with our meals, really helps with digestion. Not only are they good for the gut, fermentation increases the nutritional content. And they add a lot of flavor. Fermented foods are easy to love because they are so delicious!
I started writing about our favorite way to make sauerkraut and then realized I hadn’t yet shared with you one of our favorite discoveries for fermenting vegetables. Over the years, we’ve fermented in crocks with custom wooden weights, and in jars with all sorts of fermentation tops. When we discovered Pickle Pipe lids a few years ago, there was no going back. I can’t believe I haven’t shared about them here yet. They are awesome! Silicon lids you attach on your mason jars, with a one way valve that allows the gas from fermentation to escape without letting in any oxygen. (We also love the glass weights Masontops makes!)
When we were fermenting vegetables in large crocks, we were checking them constantly and skimming off the top all the time. We don’t have to do that when we use the Pickle Pipe lids. We can skim off the top, if needed, before we refrigerate the finished ferment. Also, I love that the container we ferment the vegetables in can also go straight into the fridge and ready to use, rather than transferring everything into another container. We use wide mouth quart mason jars and two quart mason jars when we are fermenting these days, and the Pickle Pipe lids make the whole process go more smoothly and easily. They’re easy to use and easy to clean. (I’m not an affiliate with Masontops by the way, I just love to share products that we’ve found helpful in our day to day life- in case you find it helpful too.)
Pictured above are some fermented carrots that Jeff made. He shredded that batch and it made me think of carrot sauerkraut. It turned out really good. We’ve also been making fermented carrot sticks, sauerkraut, pickles, and green beans. (So many cucumbers and green beans coming in from the garden right now!) Next up- I’m going to share about our favorite way to make sauerkraut, but first I wanted to share about the fermentation lids and weights that are such a great tool for ferment making!
P.S. I know I’m mentioning tools for fermenting, without going into the details about how to do it for beginners interested in making fermented foods. When I was first starting out, the books ‘Nourishing Traditions’ and ‘Wild Fermentation’ inspired many of my early fermentation experiments. Then, a few years ago, my dad and stepmom gifted me the book ‘Fermented Vegetables’ by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey. It’s a fantastic book, with recipes for fermenting every vegetable you can think of. Kirsten and Christopher now offer online fermentation classes on their website Ferment Works. Cultures for Health has some great resources, we’ve purchased many cultures from them over the years. There are resources from Masontops also. Those are some good places to start, and if you know any other resources please share them with us in the comments, thanks!